Florida Women’s Basketball Falls to No. 5/6 Tennessee, 83-40

By: UF Sports Communications
By: UF Sports Communications

Gainesville, FL - No. 5/6 Tennessee used a potent three-point
attack and placed four players in double-figure scoring to snap
Florida’s nine-game home winning streak with an 83-40 win on
Thursday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Freshman guard Brittany Shine (Sacramento, Calif.) who reached the
100-point plateau for her collegiate career in the game led the Gators
(12-6, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) for the fourth time this season with
seven points in 21 minutes of play.

The Gators shot 21.4 percent (15-of-70) from the floor for the game,
marking the third-lowest shooting percentage in a single game in school
history. Tennessee shot 47.8 percent (32-of-67) from the field,
connecting on nine three-pointers and winning the rebound-battle 57-37.
It marked just the third time this season that Florida has been
out-rebounded.

“We are very disappointed, obviously, of the outcome, but (also) just
the way the whole game went,” Florida head coach Amanda Butler said.
“Tennessee is tremendous, there isn’t any question. I think they
are great. They deserve their ranking; they are certainly the best team
in the league. I knew we were going to have to play well to beat them,
but we are just really disappointed with our toughness. We have to give
Tennessee credit for setting the tone right from the beginning
offensively. Defensively, the tempo, the rebounding battle--they just
really took all of that away from us right from the tip. We never
adjusted or responded with the toughness that I know that this team
possesses.”

Junior guard Deana Allen (Houma, La.) scored six points and brought
down a career-high and team-high eight rebounds, while freshman guard
Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla.) added six points. Junior guard Lanita
Bartley (Jacksonville, Fla.) chipped in five points.

The Lady Vols raced out to an early 11-3 lead, holding the Gators to
just 1-of-6 shooting from the field to open the game. After an Allen
basket stopped the Florida scoring drought, Bjorklund drained a
three-pointer from the left wing at the 16:02 mark of the opening
period, to give her eight points in the first four-plus minutes of the
game and extend Tennessee’s edge to 14-5. The Lady Vols continued
their three-point shooting barrage, widening their margin to 13, 22-9,
with 12:31 left in the half. Tennessee held Florida without a basket for
nearly nine minutes late in the opening period to widen its margin to 22
points, 34-12, before a Shine three-pointer at the 2:42 mark ended the
drought.

Tennessee took a 47-15 edge into the locker room at intermission, using
seven three pointers to highlight its offensive performance. The Gators
shot 20.0 percent (6-of-30) from the floor in the opening period, while
the Lady Vols connected on 47.5 percent (19-of-40) of its shots.
Tennessee held a 30-16 advantage on the boards at intermission, and a
14-2 edge in points-in-the-paint.

The Lady Vols came out of the locker room in the second half to quickly
build up to a 39-point advantage at 57-18 with 15:58 remaining in the
game. Tennessee would never trail by fewer than 30 points for the
remainder of the game, and led by as many as 45 points, 83-38, with 1:19
left on the clock.

Tennessee (16-2, 4-0 SEC) was led by Bjorklund’s game-high 16 points,
while junior forward Shekinna Stricklen poured in a double-double with
11 points and 12 rebounds as one of four Lady Vol players to score in
double-figures.

Florida returns to action on Sunday, when it travels to Athens, Ga., to
take on Georgia. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. ET and the game will be
carried live on the SEC Network and WBXY 99.5 FM in Gainesville.

POST-GAME NOTES
● Florida drops to 12-6 overall and 2-2 in Southeastern Conference
play, while No. 5/6 Tennessee improves 16-2 overall and 4-0 in league
action.
● The Gators used the starting lineup of Lanita Bartley, Jaterra
Bonds, Jennifer George, Jordan Jones and Ndidi Madu for the second time
this season and the second consecutive game. Florida is now 1-1 with the
current starting lineup.
● UF saw its nine-game home winning streak, dating back to the
2009-10 season, come to a close.
● The Gators faced their largest halftime deficit of the season at
32 points. It marked the fifth time this season that Florida has trailed
at the half.
● Florida lost the rebound battle for just the third time this
season and the Gators drop to 0-3 when losing the rebounding battle.
● Freshman guard Brittany Shine finished with a team-high seven
points in the game and eclipsed the 100-point plateau for her collegiate
career. She led the Gators for the sixth time this season.
● Junior guard Deana Allen brought down a career-high eight
rebounds, besting her previous personal-record of six rebounds against
Providence on Dec. 4. She also played a career-high and team-high 30
minutes.

POST-GAME QUOTES

FLORIDA HEAD COACH AMANDA BUTLER

“We are very disappointed, obviously, of the outcome, but (also) just
the way the whole game went. Tennessee is tremendous, there isn’t any
question. I think they are great. They deserve their ranking; they are
certainly the best team in the league. I knew we were going to have to
play well to beat them, but we are just really disappointed with our
toughness. We have to give Tennessee credit for setting the tone right
from the beginning offensively. Defensively, the tempo, the rebounding
battle--they just really took all of that away from us right from the
tip. We never adjusted or responded with the toughness that I know that
this team possesses. The younger players looked dazed.”

On if the freshmen were ready for this game …
“Well I don’t think that was limited to just our younger players. I
didn’t feel like anyone on our team really--we didn’t look like the
same team we did yesterday in practice. We tried to prepare them for
what it was going to feel like. I think they are a tremendous offensive
team this year and we didn’t take easy points or second shots away
from their transition offense, which was really, really disappointing. I
don’t think anyone necessarily had that look in their eye like it was
going to be a special night.”

On Florida’s turnovers …
“I think for our guards in particular, decision-making wise, we knew
they were going to block a few shots and we tried to mainly prepare for
that, because you don’t have a player like Kelly Cain or Glory Johnson
and not know that a few shots are going to be blocked. I just also tried
to prepare a few pull up jump shots and not make those blocked shots
quite so easy, but that was just not an area that we never seemed to
adjust to. We played a little more aggressive against them in that area
and started taking it to them. It was aggressive, but not smart. Our
challenge tonight was to balance those two things and we did not do that
very well.”

FLORIDA PLAYERS

#12 Deana Allen, Jr., G

“Coming into the game, I knew it would be intense. I was up for the
game and that was the whole part of the recruiting process, like, I was
so up for coming to the next-best SEC school to help beat Tennessee. I
just felt like we got away from certain things on offense and defense.
We took off possessions, and like Coach said, our offense sparks from
our defense. Once we couldn’t stop them from doing what we knew what
they would do, we kind of lost confidence. I felt like we weren’t all
on the same page and we weren’t as confident in our game, so it
slipped away from us.”

#13 Azania Stewart, Jr., C

“It was pretty tough. They are a very good team. They came out to
play, they were ready, and I think we had the game plan down. Our
coaches did a great job with our scout and stuff, and I just feel that
I, in particular, needed to come out punching first and we didn’t make
that first punch. Angie [Bjorklund], we knew what she was going to do,
she shot the lights out and we didn’t adjust to that at all. It’s a
disappointing loss, but we have to turn it around. We have a quick
turnaround and we need to learn from it quickly and come out strong for
Georgia on the road, yet again.”

TENNESSEE HEAD COACH PAT SUMMITT

“I thought we came out with great intensity as a team today and
played well together. We didn’t lose a lot of momentum when we went to
our bench and I thought our post game and size and presence made a
difference. Having [Shekinna] Stricklen shoot the ball well, obviously
when you have someone like that it helps. She has accepted the
challenge and obviously Angie Bjorklund has never seen a shot she
didn’t like and most of the ones I have seen I’ve liked. Kelly Cain
did a great job on the boards and I thought we had good play off the
bench. We have a lot of depth and that is one thing that is important
we can go deep. Having everyone has an opportunity to get inside
touches and play the way they play. We just have to take this and know
that you never arrive from this game and just have to wait for the next
one and it will be a challenge for us. It always is.”

On Angie Bjorklund’s start …
“I have made it very clear to her that she has the hot shot and she
is one of the best shooters I have coached in the game. As I look at
her, she is truly a difference-maker and if we are going to have a
chance to win a championship then she has to understand her role. I
think she has embraced it and the maturity of our team has given us a
lot of confidence.”

On expecting Florida to be a tough opponent …
“We expected it to be a close game, but are very pleased that we were
able to separate ourselves. Shooting the ball well is one thing, but I
like our defensive intensity as well.”

On out-rebounding Florida 57-37 …
“We put a lot of emphasis on rebounding. Stricklen was at the top of
her game today and Kelly did a great job today. We had three people that
did a good job on the boards. I like the fact that Angie’s rebounding
and Meighan’s rebounding. If you can dictate what happens on the
glass then you have a chance of really going to the other end and making
good things occur.”

TENNESSEE PLAYERS

#5 Angie Bjorklund, Sr., G/F

On her strong start …
“I think the coaches have really been talking to me about not
hesitating because I had been. I continued to focus on catch and shoot.
I think our team has done a great job of coming right from the start
with a lot of intensity. I think our defense getting stops has really
helped our offense and I am just proud of our team. We have been playing
together a lot better.”

On Tennessee’s defense …
“I thought it was the difference-maker today. We were all on the same
page and helping. We were all talking and working together well and I
think that really makes a difference.”

#40 Shekinna Stricklen, Jr., F

On the importance of rebounding …
“Every day in practice we do at least four or five rebounding drills.
We still have to improve, especially on boxing out. We just have to keep
working on it, defense wins games.”

On building off her last game against Ole Miss …
“I did have a good game. I think coach has really challenged me to
just step up and be good on ends, offense and defense. I think I just
stepped up to her challenge.”


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